Last month, I’d posted some project management tips catering directly to artists and brands. [READ: 5 Project Management Tips For Your Next Album Release] These were based on my project management/project leader experience in corporate IT and for private customers. Since that time, a couple of y’all mentioned either on Twitter or at events where I ran into you that y’all enjoyed the post and felt it gave some practical advice. So I figured to keep the theme going.
The following post is going to be based on the same framework as the previous post. You’re an artist or brand, and in this case, have convinced an individual or business to invest in you. They believe in both your short and long term vision, idea(s) and/or goal for a particular project. Perhaps they’ve given you xx amount of dollars to release your next album (the running of which is similar to implementation, a project management principle). Your album release plans (project) are well underway — let’s say you’re three months into it — and up to that point, everything has gone swimmingly. Money is being allocated where it’s supposed to go, you have all the resources you need (studio time, marketing materials, etc.), and everybody on your team is timely and on task. Until it happens.
You f*ck up. And it’s not just a little screw up. The screw up is big enough where your pending album release (project) is either going to affect the budget (money lost or overspent), be late (delayed timeline) or not be done right (flawed product). Any of these are major. No investor or business owner likes to lose money. A big timeline delay can affect more than just the bottom line, and no customer (i.e. your fans) wants a crappy album.
When things go wrong in a major fashion, it can happen in one of two ways: 1). Your investor (business owner) catches it or 2). You catch it. If your investor catches it first, they may approach you and be like the detective said to Kane in Menace II Society, “You know you done f*cked up right?“
Either way, it’s a bad feeling. No one wants to be a screw up. Even worse, some folks don’t want to admit when they screwed up or something is going wrong. So below, I’m going to give y’all five quick tips for getting your album release (project) back on track when things go wrong.
As noted in my previous tips post [READ: 5 Quick Non-Conventional Tips For Networking At Events Where You Don’t Know Anyone] thanks to my mama and grandma, most of the tips I’m going to give y’all are pretty much common sense. They both use to sometimes say “sense ain’t common in everybody”. And to keep it real, there have been days when I’ve even asked myself “what in the world I do that for?”
Take one or three of these quick tips, put them to use and be better prepared the next time you’re working on a project, something goes wrong and you need to turn it around.
1. Keep a cool head.
This one is similar to a tip from the post on 5 Project Management Tips For Your Next Album Release where emotional intelligence was mentioned. I’m mentioning it again because keeping a cool head is everything! Being a hot head can lead to a fast, slippery slope to overall project failure. Being emotionally intelligent (i.e. cool headed) is basically knowing yourself good enough to not pop off when things go wrong. It’s also being aware of others’ emotions to the point where you don’t go HAM when they pop off on you. I know that’s not a very scientific definition, but I think y’all catch the gist.
When something major goes wrong with your project, it is absolutely important to keep your cool. If you go off or fall to pieces when it goes down, then it can cause even more issues.
Not being able to keep your cool when you’ve f*cked up can work against you. Unless you’re a big dog (i.e. investsor, business owner, etc.), no one really wants to work with somebody who throws a temper tantrum or falls to complete pieces if things aren’t going right. Having an uncool head can also be counterproductive and put negative energy into your project team.
2. Be real with yourself.
This is basically being 1000% percent real to yourself. If you screwed up, you have got to own it. Not much is worse then working with somebody who refuses to admit they are the cause of why something went majorly wrong.
3. Pinpoint what went wrong and why.
This one right here is pretty major. When your project has a major screwup and things have gone wrong in a royal fashion, it is mission critical to take time to figure out WHAT happened. One step beyond that is to figure out WHY it happened.
Both of these are important for two reasons. 1) You want to know what happened for your learning experience. This is your chance to have a “lesson learned” moment. Your investor is also going to want to know exactly what happened. Take some focused time to do this. If that means you need to take time away from the overall project to do so, then do that. 2) You’ll also want to know what happened for future reference. This is so, if at all possible, the same mistake(s) that caused things to go wrong in the first place don’t happen again.
4. Don’t lie to your investor (Business Owner).
If I were ranking these tips in order of importance, this one would be #1. Lying to your investor (business owner) about anything, especially on why things went wrong, is not the thing to do for so many reasons. The biggest of all is if you lie and they catch you in that lie (“You know you done f*cked up right?”) it destroys your credibility. Your investor might pull all money out of your project, never invest in you again, and then tell everybody in their network. All three of these are bad. Michael Jackson bad.
Remember that in most whatever niche worlds you operate, it can be pretty small. The music industry is one of these niche worlds and word can travel. Own up to your mistakes and keep it moving. Just don’t lie about it.
5. Develop a clear, concise plan to get back on track. Then do it.
This is where taking action comes into play. Once you’ve figured out what went wrong and why it went wrong (see #3 above) and come clean to your investors/business owners or anybody who needs to know (see #4 above), it’s time to go to work. You need to, in clear and obvious fashion, lay out a good plan for turning things around. This may mean finding new resources. It could be determining a way to make back lost money. Perhaps you need to go fix a particular issue before moving forward to releasing your album.
Either way, the biggest thing here with #5 is this is a point where you take the action. It’s one thing to develop the plan. It’s a whole other thing to actually do it. Investors (business owners) likes results. Not people who just talks (plans) about results.
Most important to remember about all of these tips is to remember that it’s rare for a project to complete without any issues. Matter fact, if you’ve ever implemented a project (released an album) that had NO ISSUES, and I’m talking 100% problem free, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Clearly, you’ve got the midas touch and I want to hear from you.
Do you have questions or comments about the above tips? Additional tips of your own that you use for getting a project back on track when things go wrong?
I’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment below, Tweet me @nancioishiphop or drop an email to email@example.com.